A new destination for upscale cuisine and creative cocktails opens in Plymouth.By Rachel Arroyo | Photos Courtesy of Eggsy Photography Above photo: Duck and ricotta ravioli appetizer with foie gras, truffles and Madeira
By all accounts, Chef Jim Casey and his wife, Heather, could’ve rested on their laurels. This year, the enterprising pair celebrated 10 successful years as owners of The Blue-Eyed Crab Caribbean Grill & Rum Bar in Plymouth. (Over the years, you may have seen the popular local eatery profiled by Food Network star Guy Fieri or The Phantom Gourmet.) Chef Casey has even prepared dishes for culinary icons such as Jacques Pépin and Julia Child during his three-decade-long career.
“I was a very comfortable chef,” says Casey. “Life was good. We lived right down the road. The Blue-eyed Crab was supporting us very well.” But the couple felt stifled. “As much as I love the Blue-Eyed Crab, people come there for specific dishes,” says Casey. “It would be hard to do different dishes because we’ve been open for 10 years.”
To shake things up, the couple opened their second Plymouth restaurant, Mallebar Brasserie, in late November. The new restaurant, which is within walking distance to the Blue-Eyed Crab, serves as a creative outlet for the couple and provides Chef Casey with the opportunity to get back to his cooking roots—the classical French cuisine he studied in culinary school. “I don’t want to be known for one dish,” says Casey. “I want to be known for a menu that’s constantly evolving.”
The menu at the new restaurant puts creative twists on French classics, and everything from the sauces and soup stocks to the honey butter that spreads effortlessly on freshly baked baguettes and hand rolls are made from scratch.
One of Casey’s favorite dishes is the cassoulet. Tarbais beans are cooked down with hearty chunks of bacon, red wine and lamb stock and served with succulent duck confit and house-made lamb sausage, with crispy pork belly on top. Another irresistible item that flies out of the kitchen is the duck fat frites appetizer, served on a smoldering bed of pine with a side of cold Béarnaise sauce. “We wanted the aromas to just flow out of the kitchen,” says Heather.
While Casey plans to change the menu six times a year, there are a few items that will be permanent fixtures—such as the lobster bisque with fresh truffles and fried lobster. “I cooked that for Julia Child when I was 25 years old, and she loved it, so that dish will always be on the menu.”
Along with its French wine list, the brasserie (which translates to “brewery,” in French) offers 12 beers on tap and close to 20 craft beers. For the after-work crowd, there are $1.50 oysters and $1 clams offered Monday through Friday and plenty of creative cocktails to try. We like the Modern Manhattan: bourbon is served in a rocks glass with a 2-inch-thick ice cube made of cherry juice, cherry-vanilla bark bitters and sweet vermouth with a Bing cherry frozen in the center.
Heather, who works the front of the house, designed the décor for the restaurant, which was completely renovated. The existing bar was moved to the other side of the restaurant and the walls were covered in reclaimed wood to give the dining room an upscale, rustic feel. The sleek blue booths and cushioned dining chairs are so comfortable, guests are sure to lounge long after dinner has been served.
A Modern French Brasserie
15 Main St. Extension, Plymouth